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Greener Pastures

Ardith Mae goat cheese is unparalleled

At this point, leaving city life for the farm is hardly pioneering. But the hyper-fresh cheeses from Ardith Mae Farmstead make us quickly overlook its clichéd beginnings.

Actually, erstwhile Brooklynites Todd and Shereen Wilcox made their exodus five years ago and interned for 10 months at Does' Leap Farm in Vermont before installing themselves and 12 goats in a hunting cabin in northern Pennsylvania--hardly an overnight decision.

As an introduction to their line (which launched last year) try a fluffy, sea-salt-tinged chèvre, mixed and packed just a day before it goes to market, or the buttons coated in fresh herbs. The soft, spreadable cheeses taste fresher than most thanks to gentle handling and a draining method that uses mesh stainless steel to retain more moisture.

Next, sample the French-style white-rind cheeses with names like Doolan, Mammuth and Bigelo, an ash-lined pyramid with a slightly crumbly interior.

Finally, the Wilcoxes fully solidify their talents (and refute their origins) with two varieties of raw-milk cheese. Each label is marked with its creation date and each variety comes with a natural or a washed rind.

Luckily, they haven't abandoned the city completely: You'll find Ardith Mae at the Union Square Greenmarket on Fridays, or at cheese stores like Stinky Bklyn, Lucy's Whey and Saxelby.

Union Square Greenmarket Union Square S. New York NY 10010 212-788-7476 Stinky Bklyn 215 Smith St. Brooklyn NY 11231 Lucy's Whey 425 W. 15th St. New York NY 10014 212-463-9500 Saxelby Cheese Mongers 120 Essex St. New York NY 10002 212-228-8204

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